“My Favorite Holiday Drink” Part 2

I hope you enjoyed seeing some cocktails the professionals prepare for the holidays in the fall issue’s Part 1 of “My Favorite Holiday Drink.” Maybe you even had a chance to use some of them for your cocktail bar or catering lists. If so, let us know – we would love your feedback! Part 2 of the holiday drink feature brings us more recipes and personalities – some pros and some “just imbibers.”

mike-headshot-newMIKE RAVEN, Managing Editor of in the Mix Magazine
Being just an imbiber, I have chosen the Ramos Gin Fizz for my holiday drink. In my mind, one usually needs to go to New Orleans to find a well made fizz, but by using this original recipe and lots practice, you can create an original. Sit back, enjoy, and pretend you are in the Fairmont Hotel!

mike-drink-newRamos Gin Fizz
Cracked ice
2 oz. Gin
3 Dashes orange flower water
1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. Fresh lime juice
1 Egg white
1 oz. Cream (or half and half)
1 tsp. Sugar
Soda water

Pour all ingredients over cracked ice in a Boston shaker. Shake vigorously for at least one minute. Strain into a chilled tumbler and top with soda water.

For this and more great recipes from New Orleans, I suggest reading Phillip Collier’s, Mixing New Orleans, Cocktails and Legends written by Jennifer Adams. Jenny serves us up her favorite drink in a few pages, as well as Ann Tuennerman, who was an influence in the project.

Have a great winter season!

macalya-headshotMACAYLA PETERSON is an account Manager and Bar Chef at iMi agency. She has 16 years of on-premise experience that ranges from front-of-the-house management to brand development. She manages adult beverage programs with our concession clients and works with fellow mixologists at iMi creating new and exciting cocktails. 

macalya-drinkSangria For A Crowd!
1 bottle red wine (I like a Rioja)
¾ cup Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
¼ cup Monin agave nectar
½ orange, thinly sliced
½ lemon, thinly sliced
1 (750-ml) bottle prosecco or cava (“bubbles”)

Combine everything but the bubbles in a large plastic container or glass pitcher. Cover and chill completely, 1 to 2 hours. When ready to serve, add bubbles.

History of Sangria
Sangria is traditionally a red wine punch and was originally created in Spain with Rioja and other Spanish reds. Sangria can also be made with white wine and is then known as Sangria Blanco. The Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) producing area also created a sparkling white wine version. From its unassuming roots in Spain, sangria has grown to become a popular, refreshing party drink around the world. Every restaurant has its own sangria recipe – typically a mix of wine, brandy, and fresh fruits, served over ice. It’s one of the most individualistic drinks on the market. Sangria’s appeal is all about taking your favorite wine, your favorite fruits, and experimenting with them.

kristen-headshotKRISTEN ARAOZ GRIDLEY is an iMi account Manager and Bar Chef who has been in the restaurant and hospitality industry for more than 14 years. Kristen’s highly creative educational background helps her guide clients toward innovative and exciting projects and promotions. She has been a contributing writer for in the Mix magazine since early 2007.

kristen-drinkCrema De Vie
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
6 egg yolks
1 can condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 cups rum, or to taste

Make a syrup by mixing the sugar and water in a saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. In a large bowl, beat the yolks until light yellow. Add the milks (condensed and evaporated), the vanilla, and the rum. Stir in the sugar syrup. Chill and serve.

History of Crema De Vie
Crema de Vie is a Cuban-style eggnog whose name, literally translated, means “cream of life.” It is a traditional after-dinner drink commonly enjoyed during the holidays and often given, in decorative bottles, as gifts to friends and family members as a sign of good will. The two holidays it is most closely associated with are Christmas and New Year’s Eve. When I was growing up, my tia (“aunt” in Spanish) used to always have a bottle of Crema de Vie at the family Christmas gatherings. This recipe is slightly different from any recipe you would find online because it has been modified and perfected as it was passed down through the generations of my family. My tia got the recipe from her mother, who got the recipe from her tia. It is a Cuban holiday tradition that I enjoy carrying on with my friends and family.

brittany-headshot-newBRITTANY CHARDIN, the newest iMi Account Manager and Bar Chef has 25 years of on-premise experience: front-of-the house, back-of-the-house and management. Brittany, a certified sommelier, is most passionate about all things Spirit related, especially gin cocktails and bringing her French, 5-star culinary background to innovative Food, Wine & Spirit pairings. Favorite words are pie and martini – but not when attached: as in the word “Pie-tini”…so wrong.

This is a drink I created in October of 2005 while working on Federal Hill in Providence, Rhode Island. Fall in New England – if you’ve never experienced it – is an 8-week or so window between September and November that is all about the foliage. Some people track the progression of peak color zealously, utilizing up-to-the-minute maps and daily news feeds to plan their serpentine journey through the countryside. Whenever I would hear the first guests strategizing about the best leaf-peeping route, I knew the holiday season was just around the corner. Why fight it? I’d make myself this drink and start planning what I was going to make for Thanksgiving.

autumn-leaf-peepingAutumn Leaf Peeping
2 parts cognac
1 part pumpkin liqueur
1 part Cointreau
1 part Green Chartreuse
Splash of lemon juice
Splash of pineapple juice

Add all ingredients to a pint glass ¾ filled with ice. Cover with Boston shaker and shake hard for 10 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with one small pineapple frond or a light dusting of cinnamon.

ann-t-headshotANN TUENNERMAN is the founder of Tales of the Cocktail, the wildly successful, internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine, and culture in New Orleans.

When I asked Ann to contribute to this article, she chose the Brandy Crusta. Ann explains the drink this way: “This is a true New Orleans classic that was invented in the 1850s by Joseph Santina. Joseph owned and operated the City Exchange on Gravier Street in New Orleans. This drink is unique in that its garnish is a large amount of lemon peel that almost entirely coats the inside of the glass. The significance of this classic is far reaching, as it has influenced what are today some of our most prolific cocktails.” She goes on to say, “New Orleans Sour is the name coined by Gary Regan for this formula that consists of a base liquor (in this case, brandy), an orange liqueur for the sweetener, and lemon or lime for the sour. This mixture is exactly what is used in some modern-day classics like the Margarita (tequila, Cointreau, lime juice) and the Cosmopolitan (vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, cranberry juice). Many other cocktails where born of this mixture and the formula originated right here in New Orleans on Gravier Street.”

The 2010 Tales of the Cocktail will be July 21-25. More information is available at

brandy-crusta1Brandy Crusta
Recipe by Chris Hannah of Arnaud’s French 75 Bar
1½ oz. cognac
½ oz. orange Curacao
¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino
½ oz. lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Peel of half a lemon or a whole lemon if you can spare it, for garnish.

Chill glass and set aside. Add ingredients to cocktail shaker and shake. Wet the rim of the glass with the lemon you’re using for the cocktail, and dip the upper rim of the glass in sugar, giving it an upper crust frosting of sugar. Circle the inside of the glass with the long swath of lemon peel and pour in the cocktail.